Tag Archives: social distancing

A Confederacy of Dunces

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”  – Jonathan Swift

The second shoe fell today – I am laid off until further notice. It wasn’t unexpected, and in some ways it’s a bit of a relief as I now know what is going to happen regarding work. I didn’t want to let anybody down, but I didn’t want to bring any germs home to Julia either.

This isn’t as selfless as it seems. Without Julia I couldn’t cope in a world of technology, political correctness and compassion. It isn’t in my nature and I need someone to guide me through it. I would be lost without her and would just have to fade away, which I don’t want to do that just yet. They call it the widowhood effect.

Having done badly in a round of Pointless which demanded knowledge of US State capitals I will be starting a course of increasing my general knowledge from tomorrow.

I’m also planning on measuring and cataloguing my collection of Peace Medallions.

After that I may rearrange my sock drawer. The question is whether to sort them by colour, length or type.

After that I may run down the street screaming and waving an axe.

I’ve been amusing myself with watching news reports of the coronavirus, or even news reports not about the coronavirus. Listen to the advice then watch what happens.

There were pictures on TV of Italian policemen stopping people for breaking curfew. Some police were wearing masks pulled away from their mouths and noses and others were wearing them over moustaches.

Our government advice is that healthy people should not wear masks, and that masks without eye protection are not useful. Advice for many years has been that masks don’t seal properly if you have facial hair. I have been told that many times by Health & Safety men, but I was working with chemicals, not pathogens. And finally, they only work when you wear them – seems obvious but several of the Italian Police hadn’t thought of that.

Then there were pictures of Alex Salmond. I’ll leave it to you if you read the article but look at how close they all are. That’s not two yards apart. To be honest, even if there was no coronavirus I’d be wary of standing too close to Alex Salmond after some of the things that were said at the trial.

How about the daily press conferences? They seem to have changed now but until yesterday the journalists all seemed rather tightly packed. Have a look at this picture– how far apart are they?

Do as I say and not as I do seems to be the watchword.

Tonight a news crew stopped a man in London and asked what he was doing. He was filming for his YouTube channel.

“Should you really be doing that?” they asked.

Am I the only one detecting the irony of the question? I’ve been saying for days that we’d be better off without all these news reporters roaming the streets to complain about people roaming the streets.

So there you are – the inside of my head during a day in the life of a crisis.

I will look for a picture, but I’m not sure I have any that are appropriate. Instead, here are some ducks on the duckpond at the Mencap garden. Julia took them on Friday when we popped by to water and check seedlings.

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Ducks on a Pond

If you want a good book to read whilst self-isolating try this.

A Week I Wouldn’t Want Again (Part 3)

On Saturday Julia walked to the shop again and rang to report that the panic-buying was getting worse. I have already reported on that.

Sunday was spent watching Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder.

On Monday I packed parcels, as usual, then returned home for lunch. We ate what could best be called a fusion lunch (corned beef hash and pasta bake) to empty the fridge and set off on holiday.

By this time my left hand, the one with the arthritic little finger, started to feel distinctly more arthritic.

We drove through Lincolnshire, reached Norfolk and stopped for coffee at at a roadside McDonald’s. It was there that we had a phone call from Julia’s brother to tell us that the government was banning all unnecessary travel and that hotels were to be closed to act as hospitals.

We made a phone call of our own, to establish that the Travelodge was still open. It was. Listening to the radio we established that the situation was advisory, rather than a Draconian clampdown (which would come later).

We decided that as we were most of the way there the rest of our journey fell into the “necessary” category.

By evening my hand was very swollen and all the fingers were impersonating bananas. I did wonder about getting my wedding ring cut off at one point, but it didn’t quite get bad enough. I had to have it done once after injuring my finger playing rugby with the kids and it’s a simple enough procedure if you know someone with the right tool. The only problem is cutting through the hallmarks, which is a nuisance but doesn’t really affect it in wear once you weld it back again.

We had quite a good time over the next few days, with chips at Aldeburgh, a family meal at Beefeater and Afternoon Tea at the Hatfield Hotel in Lowestoft. Unfortunately I can’t get the photos off the card, so that’s three Scone Chronicles you won’t be getting. The chips on the beach were great, the family meal was excellent and the afternoon tea had the best sandwiches I’ve had so far in the series. It also had sausage roll, a cheese straw, a cheese scone, onion chutney, a fruit scone and a lot of cake. In fact, we needed a doggy bag.

Aldeburgh and Southwold were busy. People are fleeing from London and living in their second homes. They obviously think that the fresh air will preserve them from illness.

The Scallop at Aldeburgh

The Scallop at Aldeburgh – Julia adding colour and a sense of purpose

On the final day (which was last Thursday, and technically makes this Nine Days I Wouldn’t Want Again) we stopped at the TESCO opposite the Travelodge. Julia offered to pop in for bread and milk while I sat in the car – she is a jewel amongst wives. She reported long queues, empty selves and bad-humoured queuing. There were lines to stand behind and a ban on cash – all the shops are using the crisis to make another attempt at driving cash out of use.

On the way back we stopped at a Garden Centre to meet my sister. In contrast to TESCO it was a good-natured place with full shelves and only about a dozen customers in the place. We had tea and cake and remarked that it really needed a tumbleweeed to add the final touch.

Social distancing had needed three days to take hold, but seemed to be working.

Of course, the Government was on its way to another panic by then…

 

Management a le poulet sans tete

Just thought I’d showcase my European credentials and vestigial schoolboy French. Also thought I’d avoid the use of English as I know a number of the words I’d like to use are, whilst accurate, likely to cause offence.

We have moved from a stance of splendid  imperturbability to one of headless chicken panic. It took 24 hours. Even news programmes are using words like “drastic escalation” and “dramatic step change”. As of the weekend we will be expected to stop mixing with people and if you are over 70 you have to stay at home for the next three months.

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Pelargoniums

If you were to do a bit of minor theft or low level drug dealing you probably wouldn’t get sentenced to three months. Seems that septuagenarians are currently less socially desirable than petty criminals.

It’s not really going to make a lot of difference to me as I am not noted for visiting pubs, theatres and sporting events. I see a few people in the shop but that is it, and as much of our work consists of packing parcels we can’t do it from home.

It’s actually possible, as Julia has signed us up to a neighbourhood help network, that I’ll be seeing more people than I normally do. I have protested that I’m too old to start being nice to people but, as usual, I have been over-ruled.

On a lighter note, the blackthorn is now in flower, which is always my indicator that Spring has sprung. There is a lot of gorse out around Nottingham now, though that isn’t such a good indicator as there is always some gorse in bloom somewhere.

When gorse is out of flower, kissing is out of fashion, as the saying goes.

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Rudebekia

My camera card is playing up so the photographs are from my spare card. They are bright and cheery even if they aren’t taken today.